Handwriting Without Tears
When I was seeking a good handwriting curriculum for my left-handed daughter, I was surprised to see that very few handwriting programs seem to deal with the challenges that face left-handed writers. That’s why I was drawn to Handwriting Without Tears.
Created by occupational therapist Jan Z. Olsen, Handwriting Without Tears is a multi-sensory writing program that provides solid fine motor skill training. Children who progress through the program not only learn to write well, but they also establish foundational drawing skills, good fine motor skills, and solid pencil grip.
What is unique about Handwriting Without Tears?
Handwriting Without Tears utilizes a variety of optional manipulatives for teaching letter formation to the youngest learners.
- Wooden lines and curves can be put together to create the capital letters, with or without the patterns shown on letter cards. Patterns are also included in the pre-K and kindergarten teacher’s guides for making your own lines and curves.
- Dough and stamps are also available for creating letters.
- A slate board and piece of chalk allow the students to write their letters with big motions before trying to write in small form on paper.
- All of the resources have an eye-catching smiley face in the top left-hand corner to remind children where letters start, thus decreasing the tendency to write letters backwards.
- A CD with catchy tunes makes teaching learning readiness concepts easy.
- Pencils and crayons specially sized for little hands help children learn proper grip.
The Handwriting Without Tears writing workbooks are set up so that the words being copied are always visible, whether the student is left-handed or right-handed. The words to be copied are either above the blank lines, or there are two columns of words with blank lines in the middle so only one column is covered by the child’s hand.
This versatility for right or left-handed students has been the biggest practical advantage for our family. But, the smooth teaching process and the style of writing practice has also been amazing. Handwriting training for our family has definitely been tear-free! My children delightedly work through each book, and are always ready to immediately start the next book. We’ve had very little struggle with backward letters, and fine motor skills have been developed well at a young age.
I also have several friends in occupational and speech therapy careers who regularly use Handwriting Without Tears in their therapy programs because of its usefulness with special needs children.
The primary negative is that the resulting handwriting is going to be clear, well-formed, and functional, but not necessarily beautiful. Children do not learn a nice slant cursive, but instead write straight up and down. Some parents and teachers find this enough of a drawback to avoid Handwriting Without Tears.
But for our family, Handwriting Without Tears has been a wonderful method for learning good handwriting technique.
Last Updated: December 19, 2011
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